It’s blueberry season in Central Florida and while most dishes involving blueberries are desserts I love using them in savory as well. In this recipe, I pair them with fresh, skinless chicken breasts from Grove Ladder Farm; a match made in savory heaven!
When it comes to chicken parts we Americans eat more chicken breast than any other part, except maybe on Super Bowl Sunday, then wings rule (but that’s another post). Perhaps it’s because it is leaner than other parts, especially when skinless, but leaner, of course, means less fat and as most chefs or cooks know, fat is flavor.
The challenge with cooking chicken breasts, therefore, is how to beef up the flavor (pun intended) without adding any extra fat. Using vegetables, fruit, herbs, and aromatics are great ways to do this, and while I do add extra virgin olive oil to saute the chicken breast and shallots in the beginning, it’s just a touch.
2 skinless chicken breasts (1 Grove Ladder Farm pack)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot diced
2 cups fresh Florida blueberries (reserve 1/2 cup for garnish)
3 sprigs of fresh lavender
Zest and juice of one lemon
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
New growth and flowers of fresh lavender (garnish)
1 lemon halved or quartered (garnish)
Peel and dice the shallot; set aside.
Zest and juice one lemon; set aside.
Wash and drain the blueberries; set aside.
Wash and pat dry the sprigs of fresh lavender; set aside.
Pat dry both sides of the chicken breasts; set aside.
FOOD SAFETY TIP!Make sure to wash everything used in preparing raw chicken such as kitchen tools, cutting boards, containers, surfaces, and especially your hands in hot soapy water afterward to prevent cross-contamination.
Also, I use a yellow cutting board just for poultry as an added precaution against cross-contamination.
Season both sides of each chicken breast liberally with salt and pepper.
Place a saute pan over medium-high heat, wait a minute or two for the pan to heat up, add the oil, wait another minute for the oil to warm up, place the seasoned chicken breast top side down onto the pan, cook until that side is nicely caramelized, turn over, cook until that side is also nicely caramelized (about 3 minutes per side), remove the chicken breasts from the pan and place them on a clean plate (they will be going back into the pan later).
Add the shallots to the pan, stir and cook until translucent (about 2 minutes), return the chicken breasts to the pan top side up, add the lemon zest and juice, 1 and 1/2 cups of the fresh blueberries and sprigs of fresh lavender, reduce to medium heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.Note: If you don’t already have one I recommend you get a meat thermometer. This tool will help ensure that you don’t serve undercooked or overcooked meats.
Chicken is done when the internal temperature (at the thickest part) reaches 165F.
Remove the chicken breasts from the pan and place onto a serving platter.
Remove and discard the lemon zest and sprigs of lavender.
Taste the sauce in the pan for seasoning, season if necessary with salt and/or black pepper, stir, ladle the sauce over the chicken breasts on the serving platter.
Garnish with the remaining 1/2 cup of blueberries, fresh lavender leaves and flowers, and extra lemons.
Your blueberry lemon and lavender chicken breasts are ready!
Blueberry Lemon and Lavender Chicken Breasts